IVR System Implementation Could Help Improve Customer Service for Health Insurance Industry
August 01, 2011
By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
Health insurance companies are facing an interesting dynamic. While the industry has invested heavily in technology to advance the total customer experience, a study from Accenture (News - Alert) shows that no dramatic improvements have been measured. Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.
This assessment was captured in a recent InformationWeek report. The Accenture study, The 7 Things Your Health Insurance Customers Are Not Telling You, found that only 11 percent of respondents agree strongly that the increased use of technology solutions within the customer service space have helped to significantly improve service levels.
In fact, while a number of these organizations have access to a robust IVR system, they still are failing to deliver the self-service channels customer want. Such systems can also be used to help personalize the experience for the user, but this approach is also lacking. In fact, only 10 percent of respondents strongly agree that their health insurer tailors the customer experience to match individual needs and preferences.
These findings arrived at a time when the healthcare industry is experiencing a number of key shifts due to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The provisions of this health reform law will soon take hold and insurers are embracing themselves for the increasing demand in healthcare that will be consumer-directed. One smart move may be the implementation of a robust IVR system.
Rush Nash, responsible for leading Accenture’s U.S. payer business, believes that more personalized customer service will emerge as a major source of healthcare differentiation. The health insurance industry will have to use an insight-driven health approach to better understand the expectations of its unique customer segments and how they can enhance relationships to impact overall revenue growth.
To make this happen, insurance providers will need technology implementations such as the IVR system to meet customer needs and expectations. Such technologies can also help to streamline the customer service approach and reduce overall costs in the long run.
Accenture is also offering a few recommendations.
First, when making technology investments, it is important that the company listens to the voice of the customer. The implementation of a proven IVR system is a great first step. Second, these companies should also invest in proactive social media strategies. Finally, self-help solutions can improve service delivery.
Whether the IVR system is the first step or simply a change in culture, it is clear the health insurance provider industry is due for a change to improve the overall customer experience and develop differentiation demands to give customers a clear choice.
Edited by Juliana Kenny